Are you touching your patients often enough? People who lose weight and want to keep it off benefit from frequent personal contact and interventions, researchers recently reported at the American Heart Association’s Conference on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism. Results of the study are also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In a test of 3 ways to help people maintain weight loss, those who received frequent personal counseling were best at keeping off unwanted pounds.
“We know how to help people lose weight in a healthy way, but we know very little about how to help them to keep the weight off,” said Laura P. Svetkey, M.D, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “This study is the longest and largest to test strategies for long-term weight loss maintenance, and it suggests that long-term weight control is an achievable goal” with continuous support and contact.
Despite the importance of obesity control, few studies have tested strategies to maintain weight loss over long periods. In the study, counselors helped participants use tools like self-monitoring and goal-setting, and also provided study members with support.
77% of participants who talked with an interventionist monthly, who provided counseling and encouragement, weighed less at the end of 30 months, compared to only 67% in the group of self-directed patients.
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